If you're struggling to make ends meet these days, you've probably cut out all the obvious extras, like $5-a-day mochaccinos. But there are additional ways to save, simply by making a few adjustments in your home. And here's some extra motivation: These tips are also good for the planet, so no excuses.
Know your energy usage
A great way to start saving is to find out how much energy your appliances are using. Simply plug in any household device to the Belkin Conserve Insight monitor ($29.99). The Conserve Insight allows you to compare different types of light bulbs, find out how much electricity your chargers are using and see if you need to replace an older appliance.
Mind your thermostat
A spokesperson from Honeywell suggests that all homeowners invest in a programmable thermostat. The amount of energy used to turn cooling and heating equipment on and off can actually cost more than keeping it running at a low level.
Also, use high-powered appliances — like dishwashers — after 10 p.m. when electricity rates may be less than during peak times.
Dim it down
Dimming your lights can help save on your electric bill. Many overhead lights have dimmers, but you can also dim your standing lamps with a Credenza Plug-In Lamp Dimmer ($12.97) by Lutron.
Jacob Smith from Go Green Energy Consulting advises us to "change all high-use light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These bulbs use 75 percent less energy on average, and they last much longer than standard bulbs."
The Energy Cooperative, a not-for-profit utility organization in Newark, Ohio, stresses that the "unplugging of all appliances when not in use (examples: toaster, coffee maker, computer/laptop, surge protectors) as well as all phone and camera chargers not in use" can lower your electric bill.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, showering represents approximately 17 percent of annual residential indoor water use in the United States. Low-flow showerheads are a great way to conserve, but you often sacrifice performance. Waterpik has created the EcoFlow showerheads ($29.99), which save water and money without impacting our shower experience. The company also provides this helpful advice: "Avoid letting the water faucet run while you brush your teeth, wash your face, etc., and you can save up to four gallons of water a minute. Also, turn off the water while you shampoo and condition your hair and you can save more than 50 gallons a week."
Insulate your pipes
Smith, of Go Green Energy, also suggested insulation as a way to save on heating bills. "Wrap the hot and cold water pipes around your water heater with insulated pipe wrap, at least the first couple of feet. Heat is able to radiate out of the hot pipes, and hot water from the tank is able to circulate back up into the cold pipes if they are not insulated," he said.